2014-2015 Tennessee PTA Legislative Priorities 1. Effective teachers are a cornerstone of effective student learning. a. We endorse measures to individualize support and recognition for teachers through annual evaluations. b. We recommend consideration of parent and student feedback for teachers along with student growth measures, student achievement and classroom observations as part of the annual evaluation process. c. We support strategic compensation for teachers in conjunction with comprehensive evaluation. 2. Strong public support for higher standards helps raise the bar for education. a. We will continue to support and educate parents about Tennessee’s higher academic standards to be consistent with NAEP standards. b. We support the establishment of a timely deadline for reporting assessment scores. c. We applaud the higher academic rigor and realistic composite scores recognized by the State Board of Education. 3. Children can achieve more when they and their families are healthy. a. We support full funding of the Coordinated School Health program. b. We recommend full service community on site Coordinated School Health programs whenever possible. c. We support changes to the Basic Education Plan (BEP) that would allocate funding to change RN/ student ratio, currently 1/3,000 to a more manageable 1/750. 4. Education is essential to the health and prosperity of each community. We support the availability of education for all children. a. PTA values and appreciates diversity, which enriches and strengthens the structure of our society within our state and nation. b. Tennessee PTA will oppose any legislation that seeks to deny students access to public education. 5. Excellent education is not possible without adequate resources and time for implementation. a. Fund education first! We support full funding of the Basic Education Plan. b. Tennessee PTA is in agreement with the Tennessee School Board Association's (TBSA) position that "Prior to any state or federal intervention based on a school’s or district’s failure to meet performance or accountability standards, governments should ensure that local schools and districts receive the necessary resources, support and time to improve." 6. Superintendents/ directors should be appointed by the Local Education Agency (LEA) through a vetting process. a. We strongly oppose any attempt to allow for the election of superintendents / directors of schools. b. We are in full agreement with the TSBA position of support for board-appointed superintendents/directors. (http:// www.tsba.net/getdoc/c2f5b28c-c788-4dc9-91a807bc3ff248d8/TSBA_Appointed_Super intendents_Issue_Brief) 7. School start dates should be determined by Local Education Authorities (LEAs) a. We oppose any attempt to establish state-wide mandatory school start dates. b. Pursuant to TCA Section 49-2-203, a local board of education has the authority to "manage and control all public schools established or that may be established under its jurisdiction." 8. Parents should be empowered with real choices, as long as the integrity of public schools remains intact. a. We acknowledge charter schools as one avenue to school reform and support them when designed according to the National PTA’s recommended principles. (http://www.pta.org/topic_posititon_statement_support-for_public_education.asp ) b. We oppose diverting public funds to private and parochial school through vouchers which would hinder our effort and responsibility to provide an excellent education for all students. 9. The safety of our children in both real and virtual worlds must be a priority. a. We will promote awareness and elimination of hazards and risks in both real and virtual worlds for children/youth. b. We applaud the inclusion and detailed definition of “cyber-bullying” in legislation that addresses harassment in schools.
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